Open Letter to US Secretary of State, Mrs. Hillary Rodham ClintonPosted: 2012/06/13
Dear Mrs. Secretary of State,
We have heard many times from any person representing US administration, including you – that elections of 2012 and 2013 and democratic and peaceful formal transfer of power would be the highest test for Georgia’s government and will define both its legacy and most probably – success of Georgia’s aspirations to western institutions (including NATO). It was a great relief to us – citizens of Georgia – to hear that statement again repeated by you recently in Batumi.
I do understand that diplomatic etiquette is a complex (though needed) mixture of maneuvering, half tones and often may-it-become-reality goodwill… probably even more complex and more needed, when that regards a political partner. I do understand, that support to NATO ISAF operations, both in Iraq and now in Afghanistan, and other political moments and western-façade skills have established Mr. Saakashvili as political ally to USA. However, he is not an ally to western democratic values, which makes him as much “ally” to US administration, as it was “Tacho” Somoza to President Roosevelt. How well that “alliance” had ended and what Somoza brought to both his nation and to US-Nicaraguan relations, that is well known and I can’t imagine current US politicians willing similar fate for US-Georgian relations. May be it is my naivity, but I am sure, that US administration’s loyalty to democratic values and principles are predominant to any diplomatic etiquette and rules of realpolitics.
Mr. Saakashvili, who downgrades himself more and more since 2008 is “L’Enfant terrible” for western diplomacy and – at much higher degree and regret – to Georgian society. His bright rise and sharp fall is a clear demonstration to what end an uncontrolled power may and will lead even a promising politician. His fall has become irrecoverable since 2008 elections, which have been “won”, at great extent, if not completely, thanks to mistake of then western leaders to support him beyond any limits and credits he had deserved. Untimely congratulations and cherishing of Georgian elections as a “triumph of democracy” (much earlier than count has been finished and results analyzed) has helped Mr. Saakashvili to survive presidency, but led to his failed legitimacy. The election mishaps have been since then often regretted in many reports, including OSCE ODIHR, Council of Europe and Department of State:
“International observers found presidential elections in January 2008 consistent with most Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) democratic election commitments. However, there were significant problems, including widespread allegations of intimidation and pressure, flawed vote-counting and tabulation processes, and shortcomings in the complaints and appeals process. These and other problems also marred parliamentary elections in May 2008, which OSCE observers concluded were uneven and incomplete in their adherence to international standards”.
Let me doubt “consistency with OSCE commitments” in 2008 presidential elections, as with only 3% won over second runoff threshold, it was concluded that vote-counting in 19% (!) of precincts has been bad or very bad!
After those rigged elections there was a Russian-made war-trap in South Ossetia, in which Mr. Saakashvili has stepped-in despite of many cautions from US administration… and since then Mr. Saakashvili rolls down and distances himself and his government from democratic principles more and more. Today he represents a strange and rather scary case of very little of Dr. Jekyll and plentiful of Mr. Hyde. What is obvious that for making him appearing in Dr. Jekyll’s shoes the nearby presence of US administration is an ultimate precondition. However, after that “monitoring presence” is over, Mr. Hyde is unleashed at utmost power and strength. And to prove that rule, after your leave Mr. Saakashvili’s and his strongmen’s unjust and absurd oppressive measures for wrongdoing have re-started at a scale and speed to which even President Ahmadinejad and Hugo Chavez would be jealous about.
Before your visit newly opened opposition-supporting TV-Channel 9 was given chance to broadcast to Tbilisi, but it lasted only 2 days and license was ceased on most absurd reasoning immediately after you left… What the Georgian National Communication Commission has been unable to see during last 5 years towards any pro-governmental or simply entertaining TV channels, now was regarded as the most severe sin and violation of mythical business rules.
Before your visit TV-Channel 9 finally got all necessary TV equipment to be on Air! for over 6 months the equipment sent to them overseas was detained indefinitely at Georgian custom and specially damaged, which was documented by international experts and has got to State Department report. After you left that practice of state-supported crime has been reinstated again…
Silknet LLC – cable and digital TV operator, which practically holds a monopoly of broadband Internet service in regions, bluntly refuses to provide its service to Georgian Dream opposition block’s regional offices! And seeing very well this intolerable violation of principles of freedom of communication principle, Georgia’s National Communication Commission, and its Chairman close ally to Saakashvili and tycoon of advertisement business Irakli Chikovani – don’t even reprimand offshore-registered and believed to be controlled by Saakashvili Silknet LLC. The same NCCC has been initiator of depriving license to TV Channel 9 and to Global TV Ltd.
Before your visit Saakashvili’s minister of Sport and Youth Affairs, Mr. Vardzelashvili has organized violent criminal abduction of judo wrestling champion Ambako Avaliani, who, along with his fellow sportsmen, has dared to express recently his support to opposition. Young sportsman has been detained against his will for 2 hours, intimidated, humiliated and Minister threatened him both by ending his sport carrier and suffering terrible pain. “We will electrocute all sportsmen who went to Ivanishvili… – after October, when we will win elections and Americans will easy their watch on us” – said the mob-minister, who was cowardly serving as a “driver” to Russian generals in August of 2008, but now keeps “brave” macho profile against his countrymen.
Georgia reminds more and more George Orwell’s state’s mini-model these days – with “big brother watching” mentality engraved and supported by law-enforcement bodies to occupy public minds… with police all over… citizens’ free will intimidated through threatening (at best – by loosing their jobs), national media converted into government’s Goebelsian propaganda servants… courts ruled by prosecution, number of prisoners – over 30,000, number of probationers, which pay so called “process agreement” fee upon absurd and often fabricated accusations, – on hundreds of thousands(!) – converting justice to state supporting “profit-earning business”… 90% of business controlled by government’s inner circle, uncontrollable and hidden elite corruption… government’s spending becoming less and less transparent and directed to futuristic mega-projects whilst over 1.5 million people are under poverty level and over 2 mln have no insurance at all…
Instead of replying to NGO mass campaign – “Must Carry, Must Offer!” which would oblige any cable and satellite TV companies to carry any Georgian TV companies program, and similarly oblige any TV companies, not to miss any cable/satellite companies proposal, offer their programs, and ending 8 years of total domination of government propaganda in Georgia’s regions (home to 75% of population) – Mr. Saakashvili’s government has stricken back as Empire of Evil, immediately you have left. Global TV satellite communication company has been demanded to stop providing satellite dishes installation and even dismantle all their 11,000 dishes throughout Georgia, thus ceasing both Maestro and Channel-9 TVchannels translation in regions and blinding again over 75% of population throughout country! By doing that the government said to citizens of Georgia: “You have no right to listen and watch media, which tells you something we can’t control! You should only watch and listen to our propaganda and lies! We won’t allow you to be an informed electorate as that threatens our ability to manipulate!”
“War is Peace!”, Freedom is Slavery!” “Ignorance is Power!”… (G. Orwell)
Is this something you have taught to Mr. Saakashvili?
I regret to say that many people in Georgia might think so, that you support Mr. Saakashvili in his antidemocratic stance, and foremost – Mr. Saakashvili wants them to think that way! By announcing this decision by his puppet judges immediately as you have left, he proudly tells citizens of Georgia – “Mrs. Clinton gave me license to do whatever I consider right to do! I have power assured by US politicians to spit on your freedoms! US administration backs me and you’d better don’t misbehave!”
On June 12 unjust court of Mr. Saakashvili (which reached breathtaking level of 99.7% last year in believing and accepting prosecution’s case) has fined Mr. Saakashvili’s main opponent on next elections – Mr. Ivanishvili – on false and fabricated accusations to 148 million GEL! ($91 mln!). The decision was taken by judge in just 15 minutes(!) without listening to any arguments by defense! and providing only 2 days prior the listening of 600-page case, which was called by lawyers of Mr. Ivanishvili “total madness, fantasy and psychopathy instead of facts”. Mr. Ivanishvili was offered to pay the fine in 7 days unless he doesn’t want all his property both in Georgia and abroad to be under arrest.
And all this happens at applauds of state controlled media – “journalists” of these channels have staged fabricated plots against some citizens during opposition rally in Kutaisi, blaming Georgian Dream opposition block that they have bribed citizens by fridges and washing machines (a long-term well-used bribing method by Saakashvili’s party themselves!). After such plot has been shown at Rustavi2 TV, It was documented next day that the family made purchase themselves and there was nobody from opposition engaged in goods procurement or transportation. As it was shown by investigating journalists, person who was brought by Rustavi2 TV to the family, was Saakashvili’s UNM activist agreeing to play a “role” in fabricated plot! That is not a journalism! That is even above propaganda! That means those “journalists” became political security officers and engage in political fabrications, for what they apparently have payments and may be even – police ranking.
Before you came to Georgia we had over 120,000 citizens gathered in a mass rally in Tbilisi, at Liberty square and on Rustaveli avenue on May 27th to cheer oppositioanry block Georgian Dream and its leader. After you have left, on June 10th similarly large crowd of over 30,000 people have participated in another rally in 2nd largest city – Kutaisi which is home to some 130,000 people these days. Mr. Ivanishvili has emphasized again at that rally there is no other way to Georgian people’s victory, but through election and promised many exciting plans – including revitalization of industry, 1-billion fund for agriculture, University campus with high-tech business incubators, and slow peaceful reintegration of Abkhazians and Ossetians into prosperous Georgian state, which would serve as a role model for democracy, free market and decentralized and responsible governance in the region.
On the other hand – Tbilisi transport company administration (inner cicle of Tbilisi mayor Ugulava) has prohibited Tbilisi shuttle drivers to listen radio as they mostly listen opposition (more correctly – uncensored by the government) channels! There is an information that 3 drivers which dared to continue prohibited listening of “enemy’s voices” have been already fired!
And Mr. Saakashvili’s all-supporting notarial office called Georgian Parliament, accepted by 101-1 votes on June 12 constitutional changes and a strategy to develop and build Lazika (a futuristic city to be built on swamp at Black sea shore, near Abkhazia) which, according to Mr. Saakashvili’s fantasy – should have 500,000 population in 2022! No funding source and amount has been revealed despite of opposition queries.
Finally, I would like to congratulate you, Mrs. Clinton, that Mr. Saakashvili has brought you to Batumi and not to his another mania – Kutaisi new Parliament, which was built in just 7 months by his threatening demands (“…if it won’t be built for May 26 , Minister Nikolaishvili will get Myocardial Infarction and many people will lose their jobs”, – said Saakashvili on May 5). The building’s part collapsed on June 7, in 2 weeks since “opening”, killing at least 1 worker, and inducing Mr. Saakashvili cowardly “remembering”: I was always concerned about construction safety and was warning Minister Nikolaishvili – watch up security, Ramaz”!.. Do I need to say that disaster site was completely blocked by police to journalists until all destruction debris was cleared up (Saakashvili lied that it was scaffolding, not building, which collapsed!) and police also blocked all hospitals, not to allow journalists in until all damaged workers have been discharged. That’s why Mr. Saakashvili considers free media as a biggest threat to his and his regime’s power.
You are Secretary of State, and I am an ordinary Georgian…
You have all rights to maintain distance and do not reply. I know how busy you and Department are these hectic days of politics becoming potentially even more explosive…
But I hope you won’t tie-up your country to the person which is a shame to any aspect of democracy, human rights, and rule of law even today, and will only grow to bigger one in a near future. Georgian people might be yet largely mute in Saakashvili’s “1984”, but we are not blind. We see that Saakashvili is nobody else but Putin-2. He can’t detach himself from power. He is addicted to power and that addiction makes him desperate to falsify reality.
I hope there is no diplomacy in helping him on that illusive down-road…